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Death | Vivus!

by Jonathan
Staff Writer —

Musical innovator, pioneer and trailblazer are just a few words that come to mind when describing the brilliance behind Death’s creator, Chuck Shuldiner. With that being said, the music presented on the latest live Death release, Vivus!, is much more than death metal. Not saying that would be a bad thing, it’s just that death metal is one genre of metal; and what Death delivers is a fusion approach toward extreme listening combining death metal, thrash, and with later works elements of progressive music as well. Anyone that’s familiar with Chuck’s writing knows that with each Death release, not only did the production evolve, but the music always seemed to get a bit more technical as well.

In many ways the music performed on Vivus! is far more superior to the early studio releases. For example, as previously mentioned Death’s production always improved with each release, their production is so drastically different from 1987 to 1998 that it must be acknowledged. It’s logical to think that Chuck liked his guitar sound better in 1998 during the two performances on Vivus! as opposed to his guitar sound in 1987 on the first studio record Scream Bloody Gore, if he didn’t he wouldn’t have changed it. Due to advancements in technology during that time period, music gear took giant leaps in terms of processing and effects; so what Vivus! delivers is a more advanced sound on each instrument. When listening to older songs like “Zombie Ritual” which was released on Scream Bloody Gore in 1987, or “Suicide Machine” and “Together As One” from the Human CD in 1991, the updated improvements on instrument production seem to unify all of the music from Vivus! regardless of what year the song was originally released. This makes the music on Vivus! seem less like a greatest hits which it isn’t, and flow more comprehensively. The overall production of Vivus! is quite good, especially considering these two shows couldn’t be more different, one is indoors and the other is outdoors which makes creating and maintaining continuity between the two even more challenging for the producer.

The musicians on Vivus! are the same as those that appear on The Sound Of Perseverance, of course no disrespect to the previous musicians who are all very accomplished; but this line-up is just a bit more proficient. With Chuck’s advanced guitar playing and gritty vocals, which adds to the horror concept surrounding Death’s ideology, and the skill level of his fellow band members, Vivus! are two live performances that are very much a prime example of the greatness that was and always will be Death.

Ozzy had stated in past interviews, that Randy Rhoads was so advanced that he would have moved on past Ozzy and done so much more; well the same can be said about Chuck Shuldiner. The song writing on Death’s last studio release, The Sound Of Perseverance shows Death at their peak. It’s the most complex and technical CD in their catalog, indicating that Chuck would have continued to grow, he too would have transcended where he was musically and done so much more had he stayed with us.

Genre: Technical Death Metal

Chuck Schuldiner / vocals, gutiar
Richard Christy / drums
Scott Clendenin / bass
Shannon Hamm / guitar

Tracks Listing:

CD 1 – Live In Hollywood (1998)

01. The Philosopher
02. Spirit Crusher
03. Trapped In A Corner
04. Scavenger Of Human Sorrow
05. Crystal Mountain
06. Flesh And The Power It Holds
07. Zero Tolerance
08. Zombie Ritual
09. Suicide Machine
10. Together As One
11. Empty Words
12. Symbolic
13. Pull The Plug

CD 2 – Live In Eindhoven (1998)

01. The Philosopher
02. Trapped In A Corner
03. Crystal Mountain
04. Suicide Machine
05. Together As One
06. Zero Tolerance
07. Lack Of Comprehension
08. Flesh And The Power It Holds
09. Flattening Of Emotions
10. Spirit Crusher
11. Pull The Plug

Label: Relapse Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10